Liverpool could join new European competition next season.
With the European Super League out of the equation, Liverpool could find themselves competing in a new continental competition next season.
The Reds’ hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League met a surprise setback when they conceded a stoppage-time equalizer to the Magpies on Saturday.
Liverpool’s win could have seen them climb into the top four, temporarily at least but instead, they find themselves in a tight position, now trail fourth-placed Chelsea by four points with only five games remaining, and are currently trailing Moyes West Ham United down in sixth.
If Everton wins their game-in-hand, Liverpool will drop to seventh and still have Tottenham Hotspur breathing down their necks.
This season’s battle for European qualification has become tighter than ever and impossible to call with a gap slowly emerging between Liverpool and the top four.
The top four battle seems likely to go on till the last match of the competition, and the Reds will be desperate to leapfrog their rivals into the Champions League places with a season in the Europa League currently looking more likely.
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However, all is not lost for Liverpool. Should they miss out, it remains possible that Klopp’s men could be competing in a brand new European competition next season instead.
UEFA have introduced the Europa Conference League this season in what is considered a revamp of the Europa League. This new revamp is aimed at reducing the number of group-stage entrants from 48 to 32 to lower fixture congestion across the tournament.
With Manchester City’s victory over Tottenham in the League Cup final, the Conference qualifying berth will now be awarded based on league position.
With the English Premier League teams is awarded seven European slots each year, the sots could be expanded to eight or nine if one of their sides wins the Champions League or Europa League but misses out to qualify for Europe.
Subsequently, fifth qualifies for the Europa League with the English top-flight’s final two slots depends on the two domestic cup competitions.
Following the start of the Europa Conference League, it was resolved that the winners of the League Cup would qualify for the newly-formed tournament with the FA Cup winners taking the second Europa League berth.
However, if either club has already qualified for Europe through league position, such spots are awarded depending on the league position too.
So with Man City assured to be in the Champions League next season, six sides will qualify for Europe next year through league position.
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As such, as it stands Liverpool currently occupies the Europa Conference League qualifying position in sixth, with such a spot entering the newly-formed tournament in its final qualifying round before the group stages – the Play-off round.
But despite this, it looks much more likely that this season’s seventh-placed Premier League side will end up joining the new competition instead.
Leicester City and Chelsea currently both hold Champions League places and are set to compete in the FA Cup Final next month. Blocking the winners of the famous competition suffering an almighty collapse and finishing outside of the top six, sixth-place would inherit the second Europa League position as a result.
Meanwhile, it could get complicated even more if Chelsea wins the Champions League and finish outside the top four or Arsenal win the Europa League, with both tournaments guaranteeing a berth in next season’s Champions League as a result.
Several scenarios could then take place, with England able to obtain up to nine European places depending on what happens.
As everything stands, it would be seventh-placed Tottenham who enters the Europa Conference League, but anything can change very quickly in the Premier League.
The Reds could find themselves competing in any of the Champions League, Europa League, or Europa Conference League next season, and still risk the opportunity of missing out on Europe altogether.
The only thing guaranteed is there are plenty more twists and turns to come in the remaining weeks of the campaign ahead.
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